Ninder Johal, Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership board member, and chair of the Black Country Asian Business Association, shares his views on progress in the LEP.
Despite the gloom that continues to surround the economic environment the Black Country has plenty to be proud of.
Since taking on my position on the board of the Black Country LEP in May I have been delighted to see the progress being made to help remove barriers to growth for businesses in the region.
There is undoubtedly still a long way to go yet and we know that the current climate has posed challenges for many businesses. But the LEP has made considerable progress in its relatively short existence and has certainly got off on the right foot to offering invaluable support to local firms.
Priority areas of work include improving transport links and huge progress has already been made with local authorities to create a more business friendly planning system. Meanwhile education continues to improve across the Black Country and exciting developments such as the Enterprise Zone, including the new Jaguar Land Rover plant offer us something to be excited about. I know colleagues at the LEP are working to ensure a skilled workforce is in place to ensure thousands of jobs created through the zone can go to local people.
After being so impressed with the way the LEP is run since my introduction to the board, it was with great pleasure that I invited its chairman, Stewart Towe CBE, to speak at the recent Black Country Asian Business Association’s (BCABA) annual awards evening. I am proud to be chairman of BCABA, which marked its 11th anniversary at the recent awards evening. The association represents 2,750 businesses in the region and it was great to some fantastic success stories celebrated. In his speech at the event Stewart spoke about the need for businesses to grasp the opportunities that are available and explained how the LEP was encouraging innovation and opening up access to finance.
I would echo these words and urge businesses that have not yet done so to visit www.blackcountrylep.co.uk and follow @blackcountrylep on twitter to ensure they don’t miss out on any opportunities.